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TEAC Direction Good – Fee Hikes Bad

The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) is calling on the government to strengthen the desirability test as proposed by the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC) in their third report released today, so that resources can be shifted to improve quality and access to public education.

“The TEAC report released today is mostly good news for students,” said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell. “However their messages about increasing access for Maori and Pacific Island students are somewhat contradicted by TEAC member Jonathon Boston predicting that tuition fees will rise by 50-70%.”

TEAC’s third report, Shaping the Strategy, outlines the key areas of national strategic direction, and identifies specific goals for the tertiary sector.

“We do have some concerns that the commission is still reluctant to prioritise public tertiary institutions over private education providers. This could lead to problems when the TEC comes to implement the proposed desirability test.”

“We’re glad that the commission believes that scarce public resources shouldn’t go toward funding frivolous courses such as surfing. However we think they need to go further and include in their desirability test whether courses need to be taught at a tertiary level – such as making coffee or being a bouncer – before they get public funding.”

“There is much more that TEAC could do to redirect funding away from wasteful or duplicated private education and into public education,” said Campbell. “Then maybe their members wouldn’t need to threaten New Zealand students with huge fee increases.”

“TEAC has provided a useful blueprint for the knowledge society. However if access to tertiary education is limited through higher fees then TEAC’s work will do nothing more than create a knowledge elite.”

ENDS

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